“Rose Tyler, you were fantastic… absolutely fantastic!”

June 1st, 2014
Warning! This article and its comments may contain spoilers...

It’s said that Rose Tyler is like marmite – some love her, some hate her. When first reading this statement, I couldn’t help but exclaim aloud ‘why would anyone hate Rose?’ My complete disbelief and lack of understanding at this idea in itself displays my unconditional love for this character, only strengthened by the fact that she was my first companion as a brand new, 10 year old Whovian. However, after discovering some of the reasons why people dislike this popular companion, I set myself a mission to show them that the Big Bad Wolf is loveable after all…

For many Whovians, Rose Tyler is one of the best companions of all time – just look at the widespread elation across the Whoniverse when it was announced that Billie Piper would be returning in ‘The Day of The Doctor’. I suppose the main reason I, and so many others, love Rose Tyler so much is because, essentially, she is us. As a 10 year old girl tuning into this alien world every Saturday night, I found a character who I could relate to immediately, someone who was as new to the crazy world of The Doctor as I was. Rose Tyler – the ordinary girl turned extraordinary defender of the earth. Rose Tyler was such a positive role model for everyone, but in particular young girls like myself, who were not necessarily the conventional demographic for the show. I, along with others I’m sure, credit Rose with the introduction of many female fans into the Whoniverse; I didn’t just admire her, I wanted to hang out with her, I wanted to be her. We all dream of running away with The Doctor, and Rose made us feel it was possible. However, Rose’s story did not just resonate with the female half of the population, by the end of 2006, after we’d all had the privilege of seeing her character develop and deepen, it seemed that everyone had immersed themselves in the qualities that shine out of this timeless companion.

Without a doubt, the best thing about Rose as a companion is that she made The Doctor the ‘man’ we love today. This may seem like a bold statement but I believe it to be entirely true; when we meet the ninth incarnation of The Doctor, he is scarred from the horror of the Time War, it’s made him bitter and angry which becomes increasingly evident no matter how hard he tries to hide it. Watching his relationship with Rose blossom over the course of the 2 years he spent with her was beautiful, not only because of the romanticism of the love story, but also because we, as an audience, had the opportunity to watch Rose change him for the better and lighten his dark side. The Doctor explains this beautifully in the series 4 finale ‘Journey’s End’ when he says, speaking to the human Tenth Doctor, “You were born in battle. Full of blood and anger and revenge.” He then turns to Rose and asks her “Remind you of someone? That’s me, when we first met. And you made me better. Now you can do the same for him.” The lasting consequences of Rose as a companion become increasingly obvious as you watch her story unfold; she challenges The Doctor and refuses to let him act like the monster he thinks he is. This much can be seen in the 2005 episode, ‘Dalek’, with her moral questioning of The Doctor. Rose Tyler proved herself to be a lot more than just a ‘sidekick’ when she stood up to the Time Lord and forced him to evaluate his own morality when she asked him ‘what the hell are you changing into?’ Any nineteen year old that can demand such authority with The Doctor is worth admiring. Rose was feisty enough to set The Doctor straight, but soft enough to teach him how to love again. She was not only a role model for all young fans of the show, but also for The Doctor; she was someone that he could learn a lot from. It’s clear that her character was built upon compassion and empathy and her regard for the ‘everyday’ character became a regular occurrence throughout her tenure, offering comfort to Gwyneth the serving girl in ‘The Unquiet Dead’ and Flora the maid in ‘Tooth and Claw’. This sense of humanisation and pure kindness that Rose brings to the show should be enough in itself to persuade any doubters out there that she surely has to be regarded as one of the best.

But what about all those times when Rose has ‘thrown a strop’? Or when she’s proven disloyal to both Mickey and Jackie? These are questions that will inevitably be asked by many and valid questions they are too; these claims are entirely true of her character, but that doesn’t necessarily go against her in my opinion. So at times she may be a stereotypical teenager (let’s face it, her reaction to Sarah Jane’s arrival in ‘School Reunion’ was hardly mature), and yes, she may be prepared to leave her family at the drop of a hat, but that’s what makes her so incredibly and realistically human. Rose rather harshly tells Mickey in ‘The Parting of the Ways’ that there is ‘nothing left for her’ on Earth despite the fact that both Mickey and Jackie are desperate for her to stay, and makes her priorities perfectly clear in ‘Boom Town’ when she deserts Mickey in order to help The Doctor. Is this so surprising though? Rose is young and in love, not only with The Doctor, but also with her adventurous new lifestyle, and her readiness to sacrifice everything shows her utter devotion to the Time Lord, if nothing else. I must say, this is one of the main reasons why I love Rose so much. She wears her heart on her sleeve and the result is an entirely real character that acts on her emotions, as most of us would in her position. She is honest with herself and to others and that’s not a crime. It’s easy to say that she strings Mickey along, and admittedly her disapproval of Trisha Delaney was downright selfish, but the truth is that she doesn’t completely know what she wants; she wants a new life, but that doesn’t mean she’s completely ready to let go of her old life. Rose Tyler is flawed, yes, but show me any human being that isn’t.

Rose Marion Tyler – the girl who saved The Doctor, not only with her bronze medal in gymnastics, but more importantly with her heart. Played beautifully by Billie Piper and written beautifully by Russell T. Davies, it seems impossible to imagine the modern era of Doctor Who without her. She may not be perfect, but it’s her imperfections that make her the perfect companion for me (and our mutual love of chips, of course). She truly was ‘fantastic’…

Editorial written by Martha Draycott

2 comments on this article
  1. Jess
    June 7th, 2014 at 3.02am | #1

    I absolutely loved this piece! I could not agree with you more; Rose made the Doctor the man we love today. Rose was just an average girl, like so many of us, waiting for the day something would change in her boring, mundane life. And that day came…with the Doctor!! I am and will always be a huge fan and lover of Rose Tyler. She is one of my favorite companions throughout the years. I thought your editorial on this topic was amazing! Love it!

  2. teddybowties
    July 1st, 2014 at 9.40pm | #2

    Yeah! For some reason my brain just binged that quote from CONSTANTINE:

    ‘… the Sacrificeeee!’

    ;) nice job!

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